All types of adjuncts (my conclusion from wikipedia.org):

An adnominal adjunct is an adjunct modifying noun, i.e. it's dependent words in noun phrases (a good boy, the discussion before the game). There is also a noun adjunct – a type of adnominal adjunct - a noun functioning as a pre-modifier in a noun phrase (examinations department).

An adadjectival adjunct is an adjunct modifying adjective, i.e. it's dependent words in adjective phrases (very happy).

An adadverbial adjunct is an adjunct modifying adverb, i.e. it's dependent words in adverbial phrases (too loudly).

An adverbial adjunct is an adjunct modifying verb (She will leave tomorrow / in the morning / after she has had breakfast).

But if we look at the page in wikipedia.org about modifiers and their types, we can see examples absolutely analogous to the examples of the adjuncts above.

Therefore, adjuncts and modifiers are just synonyms. Am I right and if not, then why?


  • 1
    Oh joy. Perhaps 'adadjective' and 'adadverb' will catch on when someone decides they're really too dissimilar to adverbs to be lumped in with them. Dec 20, 2019 at 19:50
  • "it's dependent words" - Huh?
    – Kris
    Dec 21, 2019 at 9:12
  • Kris, For example in a noun phrase, dependent words before the head are either determiners (e.g. the, my, some) or premodifiers (e.g. adjectives). Dependent words after the head are either complements or postmodifiers. Source: dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/…
    – Loviii
    Dec 21, 2019 at 11:35
  • Related.
    – tchrist
    Dec 17, 2022 at 22:19
  • Does an adadadverb modify an adadverb?
    – Stuart F
    Dec 18, 2022 at 0:31

1 Answer 1


In short: adjuncts may or may not be integrated into the syntactical structure of the sentence. If they are, they are called modifiers; if they are not, supplements.

There is also a category that includes both modifters and complements, but excludes supplements. These are dependents, which are either complements, or modifiers, or determiners.

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At least, this is the terminology used in CGEL; as Edwin Ashworth mentioned in a comment, some grammars use these terms a bit differently.


From CGEL:

adjuncts may be dependents (modifiers), … or supplements, elements that are more loosely attached to the clause. (p. 215)

Supplements are parts of a sentence that aren't integrated into the syntactical structure of it, but rather appear as interpolations or appendages (p. 1350):

Pat—the life and soul of the party—had invited all the neighbours.
The best solution, it seems to me, would be to readvertise the position.
Jill sold her internet shares in January—a very astute move.

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    Yes; confusingly, other grammarians / schools of grammarians will have different and sometimes conflicting terminology. But this seems eminently suitable. Dec 20, 2019 at 19:43
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    The problem is finding tests to distinguish the categories that don't require constants of integration. Dec 20, 2019 at 23:59
  • 1
    @JohnLawler I do understand the mathematical meaning of a constant of integration, and I guess you are referring to the problem that (some of? many of?) the tests used in linguistics are often ambiguous. However, is there something more to that mathematical metaphor? Is there something about tests (sometimes) used in linguistics that kind of resembles the constants of integration in mathematics? Dec 23, 2019 at 13:06
  • @linguisticturn totally random question. Would you be kind enough to tell me what software you used to make the above diagram?
    – jxhyc
    Oct 7, 2021 at 19:38
  • @jxhyc I believe it was Inkscape. Oct 8, 2021 at 8:31

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